Liz MacBride
Short Story // Swings

époque press
pronounced: /epƏk/
definition: /time/era/period

He brought her to Paris once, last year, which sounds so romantic and depressing. And I remember thinking, when he told me they went to Paris, that probably no one would ever take me to Paris. Or that, even worse, one day someone would take me to Paris, and I’d get there, to Paris I mean, and be like, is this it? Anyway, they broke up. I asked why and he said it was because she didn’t love him anymore. Me and him’d been friends for so long we could just say these kinds of blunt things to each other and it felt like it would be okay, like nothing bad would happen if we opened ourselves up a little bit. I’m pretty sure we’d always had this understanding. Also there’d been some alcohol involved earlier so these kinds of ordinarily quite uncomfortable truths were easier to accept and subsequently verbalise. So she didn’t love him anymore, he said. He said it with a kind of a laugh and I asked if he was okay and he said that he was. And I said well don’t leave it too long to get back on the horse, and slapped him on the shoulder because I felt suddenly awkward and didn’t know what else to say, and he said he wouldn’t, leave it too long I mean, and then well anyway one thing led to another and a few hours later we were kissing on the swings in Merrion Square and holding hands down Westland Row, where he whispered this is like a movie in my ear, and at this stage the sun was setting over Custom House Quay, making the sky look purple and marvelous, everything glowing pearlescent, like how it might look in a dream just before you wake up, before you realise you were dreaming; or how it might look in Paris, a sunset cresting behind the Arc de Triomphe or whatever, my senses heightened to an almost painful degree by now, so much so that with every step we took I swore I could hear the entirety of the earth’s ancient tragic history underfoot, feeling so insipid, feeling overdramatic, feeling heliotropic now, in love with the sun I’d seen a million times before but not like this, never like this; the light brilliant and musical somehow; intoxicating even, I would say, although maybe that sensation could be attributed to the drinks we’d had earlier, I don’t know, sorry, I’m rambling now, but we kept laughing and kissing each other and laughing again and I swung his arm and made him skip beside me across the Sean O’Casey bridge, the Sean O’Casey bridge being the bridge that kind of bounces if you jump or skip, and I still remember thinking is this it? And it was. It was it.

Liz graduated from English Studies at Trinity College Dublin in 2019 and is currently completing a Master's in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway University in London. Her writing has not really been published before, and yet despite this indisputable fact, she is still kind of convinced she might actually be the voice of her generation. But that's not really up to her to decide. You can follow her on Twitter at @lizmacbride. 

 

On the motivation behind this piece of writing Liz says…

 

‘I always feel like I'm waiting for life to start happening to me, failing to realise that it has, in fact, been happening to me for a while now. I want all these big moments of clarity and connection with the world around me, and get annoyed when things happen and they just seem normal. So this is my attempt to acknowledge that really mundane, fleeting moments can be serendipitous and important in their own right, even if they end as quickly as they began, even if they weren't meant to last forever, even if you only realise they were significant in hindsight. So basically nothing's important - but at the same time, everything is. And if you want to feel an affinity with the world around you, all you have to do is decide to try to feel it, in everything…I think’